hall of fame

Have Rod Laver be Part of Your Holiday Season

As the holiday season fast approaches, New Chapter Press recommends the newly-updated memoir of Australian tennis legend Rod Laver — “The Education of a Tennis Player” – as an ideal gift for tennis fans around the world.

Written with Hall of Fame journalist and historian Bud Collins, “The Education of a Tennis Player” is Laver’s first-hand account of his famous 1969 Grand Slam season, capped off by his win over fellow Australian Tony Roche in the final of the U.S. Open. Laver also writes about his childhood and early days in tennis, his 1962 Grand Slam and offers tips on how players of all levels can improve their game. He also shares some of the strategies that helped him to unparalleled success on the tennis court.

Originally published in 1971, “The Education of a Tennis Player” ($19.95, www.NewChapterMedia.com) was updated by Laver and Collins with new content including his recovery from a near-fatal stroke in 1998 and helping Australia once again win the Davis Cup in 1973. The memoir features descriptions of Laver’s most suspenseful matches and memorable portraits of his biggest rivals Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Tony Roche and Pancho Gonzalez.

“I am delighted that “The Education of a Tennis Player” is back in circulation and available for a new generation of tennis fans,” said Laver of his newly updated memoir. “Winning the Grand Slam for a second time in 1969 seems just like yesterday and this book brings back a lot of memories of the great matches and exciting times. I hope people enjoy reading my story.”

Laver captured 11 major singles titles during his career, including Wimbledon in 1961, 1962, 1968 and 1969. After joining Don Budge as the only man to win a Grand Slam by sweeping all four majors in 1962, Laver turned professional where he, along with fellow pros Hoad, Rosewall and Gonzalez, were banned from playing the “amateur-only” major tournaments. When the “Open Era” of tennis began in 1968, Laver netted another five major singles titles, including his Grand Slam sweep of all four in 1969. Laver won nearly 200 singles titles during his career and was inducted into the International Tennis of Fame in 1981.

Collins, himself a 1994 inductee in the International Tennis Hall of Fame, first met Laver in 1956 at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston during the U.S. National Doubles Championships. Thirteen years later, the two collaborated on the book that was only to be published if Laver won the Grand Slam. Collins is best known for his colorful television commentary – and his colorful wardrobe – as well as his columns in the Boston Globe.

“Rod Laver is one of the greatest treasures we have in tennis and “The Education of a Tennis Player” is one of our sports most important literary works,” said Collins. “Rod was always so humble and gracious, but he could play tennis like a hurricane. He was as a great a champion as we have ever had in tennis and one of the all-time nicest guys.”

New Chapter Press is also the publisher of the newly updated second edition of “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Roger Federer Story: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli, “Acing Depression” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “The Lennon Prophecy” by Joe Niezgoda, “Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Susan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin, “People’s Choice Cancun – Travel Survey Guidebook” by Eric Rabinowitz and “Weekend Warriors: The Men of Professional Lacrosse” by Jack McDermott, among others. Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press is an independent publisher of books and part of the Independent Publishers Group. More information can be found at www.NewChapterMedia.com.

Around The Corner: A Newport Preview

With Wimbledon ended it seems odd to have any grass-court tennis left and yet that is exactly what we have in the week ahead in Newport, Rhode Island. A sparse field is set for the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championship but there are a few names worth noting.

Seeded first is American Sam Querrey. After winning the grass-court title at Queen’s Club a few weeks ago, Querrey is the favourite this year to win in Newport. He finished runner-up here a year ago to Rajeev Ram. He opens the tournament against Jesse Levine.

Ram is also back to attempt to defend his title in both singles and doubles where he was victorious in both draws in 2009.

Other notable Americans include 5th seeded Mardy Fish and the 8th seeded Taylor Dent. Fish was beaten by Querrey in the Queen’s Club finals while Dent is always dangerous on a fast surface due to his imposing serve.

Dent is still trying to find his form since returning from a serious back injury that kept him off the tour for two years between 2006 and 2008. After some encouraging results a year ago Dent seems to have stumbled and holds a 4-11 record in ATP events in 2010. Perhaps a return to Newport, where he won in 2002, will help spark his game.

Canadian Frank Dancevic is also coming back from a back injury and is the lone Canuck in the draw in Newport. Dancevic will be trying to round into form as his home tournament at the Rogers Cup in Toronto is merely a month away.

Following this tournament the Davis Cup will resume with the quarter-finals followed by a few clay-court tourney’s in Europe and the start of the summer hard-court swing in North America.

The Friday Five: Sex, Drugs And Gambling

By Maud Watson

Pretty Woman Gone Bad – In an odd story that ran earlier this week, it was reported that two players competing in the If Stockholm Open had been detained by police on Sunday for soliciting prostitutes.  It has since been discovered that one of the two players involved was allegedly Latvian Ernests Gulbis, while the second player remains a mystery. European media outlets suggest it could be Argentine Juan Monaco or Italian Simone Bolelli, the latter pulling out of Stockholm citing personal reasons. Maybe someone should have told these guys that sort of thing only works for Richard Gere in the movies.

Another Comeback?  We Didn’t Think So – With the triumphant return of Kim Clijsters and the much-anticipated return of Justine Henin, fans around the world were asking if there would be a third major comeback from one of the WTA’s greatest stars, Martina Hingis.  Martina’s answer?  A resounding “no.” “You can’t just snap your fingers and say ‘Let’s go and play the Australian Open,’” said Hingis, who was suspended for two years for testing positive for cocaine. We can’t say we’re surprised by this. A third go at a comeback is asking a lot of any athlete.  We just hope she stays involved with the sport and look forward to the day she takes her place in the International Hall of Fame.

Who’s Ready for 2010? – Justine Henin is!  The Belgian tennis star has announced that she’ll make her official return to tennis at the Brisbane tune-up event prior to the Australian Open.  And speaking of being ready for 2010, I’d be remiss not to throw a few props out to former Top 10 player David Nalbandian.  After a nine-month injury layoff that included undergoing hip surgery in August, the Argentine has announced he plans to return to the tour in Auckland as he prepares for the Australian Open.  This guy has collected some serious scalps over the course of his career, and you can bet that hip surgery or no hip surgery, the likes of Federer, Nadal & Co. won’t want to see him waiting on the opposite side of the net.

Another Gambling Scandal?  You Bet!  – Tennis authorities are currently investigating a match that took place in Luxembourg earlier this week between sixth-ranked Caroline Wozniaki and Anne Kremer.  Bettors began to pile large wagers on Krember, despite the fact that she was trailing her much higher-ranked opponent 5-7, 0-5.  The reason for the surprising wagers?  Nearby microphones picked up Wozniaki’s father encouraging her to retire when she was up 3-0 in the second set, alerting spectators to Wozniaki’s injury.  This to me represents a strong case against on court coaching.  To utilize on court coaching, the coaches have to agree to wear a mic in order that fans can hear what they’re saying to their charges.  Given that these conversations take place during matches that are seen by millions, the powers-at-be had to know this was a betting scandal just waiting to happen, and I hope that this incident serves as the catalyst to do away with on-court coaching on the WTA Tour.

Parting is Such Swede Sorrow – After six years of serving as Sweden’s Davis Cup captain, former Grand Slam champion and 2002 Hall of Famer Mats Wilander is stepping down from his post.  Though he never took his team to the title, he did lead them to the semifinals in 2007, as well as three quarterfinal appearances.  The parting comes on amicable terms, as the quiet Swede stated he wanted to spend more time at home and with his family (though we hope he’ll continue to make regular appearances on the senior tour!). Wilander will be replaced as Davis Cup captain by veteran Swede Thomas Enqvist.

InsideOut Turns to Amplify

NEW YORK – July 20, 2009 – InsideOut Sports & Entertainment announced today it has retained Amplify Sports and Entertainment for sponsorship sales representation of InsideOut’s signature property, the Outback Champions Series. InsideOut, co-founded by Hall of Fame tennis champion Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison, is an independent producer of proprietary events and promotions.  The Outback Champions Series is a collection of tennis events featuring many of the greatest players of the past 25 years, including Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and many others.

Amplify will help secure Outback Champions Series corporate partnerships.  Founded in 2005, it features eight events on its 2009 schedule with each event featuring $150,000 in prize money.  To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team.

“Amplify has a stellar record in helping build partnerships between top brands and marquee properties,” said InsideOut Sports + Entertainment co-founder Jim Courier. ”We look forward to working with them to build upon the success of the Outback Champions Series.”.

“The Outback Champions Series offers advertisers unprecedented access to many of the biggest names in tennis and the ability to connect in a meaningful way with target customers,” said Michael A. Neuman, president of Amplify Sports and Entertainment.  “We’re excited to work with InsideOut to secure new corporate partners for this great property.”

About Amplify Sports and Entertainment

Amplify Sports and Entertainment specializes in maximizing clients’ investments in sports, lifestyle and entertainment sponsorship. Through strategic insight, Amplify builds brands by customizing compelling, relevant and memorable marketing programs that drive sales by establishing a deeper, more emotional bond with target consumers. Proprietary tools, the Sponsorship Snapshot™ and the Sponsorship Amplifier™, offer the industry the most comprehensive resources for evaluating return on sponsorship marketing investments. Clients include: ABSOLUT® VODKA, Allergan, Inc., American Bass Anglers, Business Clubs of America (Philadelphia), BOTOX®, Champions Series, Cruzan® Rum, Everlast, Ford Models, Gardenburger, ING Direct, International Sports Properties, Level™ Vodka, Inc., Juvéderm™, Major League Soccer, National Grid, Nikon, Inc., Pepsi Bottling Group, SportsNet New York (SNY), Strike Ten Entertainment, Time Warner Center, USA Field Hockey, U. S. National Whitewater Center, United States Tennis Association, US Speedskating, Volkswagen of America and XanGo, LLC. For more information on Amplify Sports and Entertainment, LLC visit www.ampfirm.com.

About InsideOut Sports & Entertainment

InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a New York City-based independent producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, charity events and tennis fantasy camps such as the annual “Ultimate Fantasy Camp”. Through 2008, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment events have raised over $4 million for charity. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.